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May 4 election recommendations

29th April 2013   ·   0 Comments

Normally, a May 4 election in the middle of Jazz Fest would be a recipe for a historically dismal voter turnout. We give credit to the hapless political class for achieving the impossible. They have conquered apathy thanks to the fight to keep the CCC bridge tolls in place.

Citizens feel abused, many feel disenfranchised. By turning off the lights arbitrarily “to teach the voters a lesson” as one Councilperson put it, division between the parties and the races evaporated, and a very unLouisianian outrage manifested.

Our editors can only reply in one way; it’s about time. Feel your inner rage on Saturday, exercise your rights and go vote.

20 Yrs. – Toll Collection – Act 865 PW Crescent City Bridge: NO

The CCC took in just over $5 million from motorists from the beginning of the year until Judge William Morvant ordered the tolls suspended on March 5. That alone is enough money to fund the Crescent City Connection for three years. Keeping the dollar fee to cross the bridge is wrong, especially as it only takes 20 cents per toll to fund on-going operations.

Whatever they might be. For what exactly the CCC staff accomplishes each day baffles the public. Certainly they have not used the tolls in the last 10 years to fund any of the construction projects promised when they were renewed a decade ago. Now, supporters of the fee say, “Give us another chance, and we’ll not blow the money this time.”

Time’s up. The state manages to maintain Mississippi River bridges from Elmwood to Monroe without levying a toll on any. The Department of Transportation and Development manages to keep the roads safe for everyone else without one. That makes it utterly unjust to tax every West Bank New Orleanian and Jeffersonian to fund services that are free for every other Louisiana citizen.

The DOTD has the responsibility to pay for all the bridge operations—including lighting as the YLC revealed in a recently uncovered contract. It’s about time they took up that responsibility. Vote NO.

ORLEANS PARISH—Juvenile Court Judge: Doug Hammel

Doug Hammel has also been outspoken on keeping children mainstreamed in school, and how sometimes otherwise well-meaning Charter School principals can parlay an accidental fist fight in the parking lot into ridding themselves of a disruptive classroom student. Overreaction to misconduct which once earned a detention, Hammel noted, has too often of late become incarceration at the Youth Studies Center and trial before the Juvenile Court. And, most of the time, a permanent expulsion from the neighborhood school.

Hammel has vowed to end this miscarriage of teacher authority, and return troubled kids–that can be saved–to the classroom. Some cannot, but those who can avoid a jail cell should have the mentoring to do just that. Hammel vows to make sure those children do not fall through the cracks, and we believe him.

JEFFERSON PARISH, EAST BANK—24th Judicial District Court, Division D: Hilary Landry

It takes a special type of judge to handle both civic and criminal dockets, which is the common practice of courts outside of Orleans Parish. It takes, quite simply, a marathon runner like Hilary Landry.

It takes someone who has practiced everything from corporate to domestic law, and still had time to devote a special focus to legally representing women who have endured physical and psychological abuse. It takes a mother of three who has managed to balance her home life with mentoring the at-risk, coaching a teen track team, and still ranking as one of the foremost attorneys of her generation. A youthful prodigy, in fact, who graduated from law school years younger than most of her contemporaries, and at the same time achieving notoriety as a concert pianist.

Jefferson Parish Milliage Renewals: YES
7 Mills – SB – 10 Yrs. PW SB: YES
5 Mills – PC – 10 Yrs.Cons. Waterworks Dist. #1: YES
5 Mills – PC – 10 Yrs. Cons. Sewerage Dist. #1: YES

This article originally published in the April 29, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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